Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2295..
MR SPEAKER: Order, order! Chief Minister, resume your seat. A question has been asked of the Chief Minister and it is quite inappropriate for members to heckle and hector while the minister is answering the question.
MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I have to say that the ACT government is a major employer. It employs, altogether, around 15,000 people in the ACT. I am particularly conscious that I am being asked to write to the head of another government, on behalf of this Assembly, essentially upbraiding him about his commitment to dual flush toilets, when I know that we, as a government and as a jurisdiction, would have to say, "There are no dual flush toilets being utilised by the ACT administration but we want you to get your house in order."
I am happy to work in partnership with the Prime Minister and with the federal government. However, I am a bit suspicious and a bit cynical about motions that are just a holier-than-thou thumping of the breast in relation to what you do, but not really all that concerned about what we do and about getting our own house in order.
MRS BURKE: My question is to the minister for housing, Mr Wood. Firstly, can the minister please inform the Assembly of the number of tenders submitted to the department with regard to the refurbishment of Fraser Court? Secondly, in light of the tender process, can the minister inform the Assembly when work is likely to start, given that Fraser Court is in urgent need of repair and the fact that I raised personally with the minister, before he went overseas, my concern that Fraser Court is only around 40 per cent occupied and, as television footage and Canberra Times photos show today, is now a place subject to illicit drug use and systematic vandalism.
MR WOOD: I spoke with Mrs Burke a fortnight or so ago about this matter, when we met in my office with people from Fraser Court. My memory tells me that there were two tenders for this work. As I indicated then to Mrs Burke, both tenders were far too high. They were well beyond what our people have estimated would be the cost and I can tell you that we do not intend to proceed with either of those tenders. We will go back into the marketplace to see what better tender we can draw. We are simply not prepared to spend what we see to be money well in excess of what the work would cost.
I am well aware of the continuing problem at Fraser Court. As much as anybody else I want to see the building refurbished. Unfortunately, I inherited the building from other people, in the state it is now in. If the former government had done a bit of work on it, maybe we would not be in this circumstance. Like a lot of housing issues, it has been left to me to fix and I will work through it. I understand the importance to the people in Fraser Court of getting the leaks in the building and everything fixed. Indeed, there are people on the waiting lists who could well do with the units that are currently vacant.
MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. I thank the minister for his answer. I understand-maybe to help you out, minister-you were saying the tenders were both over $4 million. With Fraser Court at around only 40 per cent occupied, the waiting lists for government housing growing daily, and Northbourne flats out of action